Affiliations: [a] Department of Computer Science, ESEI, University of Vigo, Campus As Lagoas, 32004 Ourense, Spain | [b] Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital Complex of Ourense, Spain
Corresponding author: María J. Lado, Departamento de Informática, Escuela Superior de Ingeniería Informática, Campus Universitario As Lagoas, 32004 Ourense, Spain. Tel.: +34 988 387 012; Fax: +34 988 387 001; E-mail: [email protected].
Abstract: Previous studies have examined the elicitation of emotions by exposing individuals to relevant stimuli, using spectral analysis of Heart Rate Variability (HRV). If a correlation exists between HRV and emotional responses, spectral analysis can be used to study emotion regulation by external stimuli. In this work, we studied the relationship between visual elicitation and emotion regulation, employing HRV. Images (with pleasant, unpleasant and neutral emotional content) were selected from the IAPS (International Affective Picture System) dataset. Ninety-eight participants were enrolled, and viewed all images, displayed in random order for each participant. Heart rate was recorded during the experiment, and HRV analysis was performed. Spectral values were studied for the response to different images. The presentation order of images was relevant, mainly when unpleasant images were viewed first; this significantly affects HRV values. Spectral values were higher for men, this increase was greater when pleasant pictures were displayed. Age and gender dependences of spectral indexes were found. The influence of visual elicitation, with different emotional content, on HRV, was assessed. Results indicate that HRV parameters are affected when individuals are subject to external, emotional-based stimuli.